Extraocular, Non-Visual, and Simple Photoreceptors: An Introduction to the Symposium
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Type of Work6 pages
journal articles preprints
Citation of Original PublicationThomas W. Cronin, Sönke Johnsen; Extraocular, Non-Visual, and Simple Photoreceptors: An Introduction to the Symposium, Integrative and Comparative Biology, Volume 56, Issue 5, 1 November 2016, Pages 758–763, https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/icw106
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It has been recognized for decades that animals sense light using photoreceptors besides those that are devoted strictly to vision. However, the nature of these receptors, their molecular components, their physiological responses, and their biological functions are often obscure. Only recently have researchers begun to learn how critical these non-visual or very simple visual responses are to organismal function; and new approaches, including high-throughput molecular genetic techniques, have led to a revolution in our understanding of the evolution, anatomical distribution, physiology, and – in some cases – function of non-visual photoreception in a diverse assemblage of organisms. Historically, these types of receptors have been described primarily among invertebrates, although they were recognized to be present in fishes, reptiles, and birds. Their presence in mammals was completely unsuspected until the end of the 20th century. In the following papers, we bring together specialists from throughout the field to review the current state of knowledge regarding extraocular, non-visual, and simple photoreceptors in a large diversity of organisms ranging from protists to advanced vertebrates and invertebrates.